If your house, flat, mock tudor mansion or sheet of tarpaulin draped over a trench in the ground is anything like mine, then it will contain a number of dusty nooks and fusty crannies that are jam-packed with technological relics that used to serve a vital purpose in everyday life but now lie crumpled, twisted and useless like the debris of a high speed collision between two Daleks.

Tangled flexes, mysterious chargers and a mystifying array of thingymebobs continue to command valuable living space and are rammed into overflowing drawers with the kind of force not seen since those Dickensian whip crackers shoved their sooty-faced apprentices up a chimney.

Amid this mountain of obsolete clutter sits the shining light that is the trusty old laptop. Having enjoyed the luxury of a fortnight off, this correspondent was in urgent need of a refresher course in the goings-on of the golf scene and, with a few prods of a finger, up to speed we came. One particular online comment caught the eye. "Felt shaky the last few holes. Why do we do it?" pondered Jamie McLeary as he mulled over his nerve-wracking, last-gasp promotion to the European Tour on Sunday.

The answer is probably quite simple; for magical moments of achievement and the buzz of those good weekends that can transform a career. McLeary's share of second in the Challenge Tour's season-ending Grand Final in Dubai gave him the 15th and last European Tour card through the circuit's rankings. All of a sudden, his 2014 schedule will have a few different stop-offs

As one of the country's leading amateurs back in the early to mid 2000s, McLeary ticked a number of the boxes required of anyone looking to make a decent fist of the pro game when he took the plunge in 2006. He had won the Scottish Youths' title, the St Andrews Links Trophy and was a regular in the Scotland national team, representing his country in the Eisenhower Trophy as well as pulling on Great Britain & Ireland colours in the St Andrews Trophy match against Europe.

The professional game is a different kettle of fish, of course. They say you can't make a career out of playing on the Challenge Tour year in, year out, but McLeary appeared destined to become a journeyman of the second-tier. Eight seasons at the coal face, and countless fruitless trips to the qualifying school, have no doubt taken a wearying toll, mentally, physically and financially, but the 32-year-old's rise to the top table for the first time has struck another blow for Scotland's late bloomers.

Craig Lee and Chris Doak, a pair of 30-somethings who have clambered up the ladder and are now making purposeful strides on the main European Tour, have benefited from the financial support of Team Scottish Hydro in recent seasons and now McLeary, another member of that valuable programme, has repaid a chunk of the investment. It's taken a while and a couple of forward steps have often been followed by a succession of backward trudges. Despite winning his first professional title on the Challenge Tour by beating Edoardo Molinari to the 2009 Scottish Hydro Challenge crown at Spey Valley, McLeary still didn't do enough to earn promotion that year.

At the weekend, when the stakes were at their highest in the 45-man shoot-out, the Peterhead-born player came good when it mattered and delivered under mind-melting pressure. In this game that plays havoc with the head, McLeary enlisted the help of golf hypnotist, Andrew Fogg, to clear his mind.

"I now listen to the files of him talking every night while I fall asleep and wake up every day feeling great," said McLeary earlier in the campaign. Lucky for some. Most of us have to contend with a cacophony of snores and snorks before yawning ourselves awake in tousled despair.

After a long apprenticeship, McLeary at last has the chance to prove that he has the head for the dizzying heights of the European Tour. The hard work is only just beginning, though. Getting there is one thing. Staying there is quite another.


The PGA Tour's expansion continued at the weekend when the circuit's top brass unveiled that they are launching the PGA Tour China next year. The 12-event tour, like similar PGA ventures in Canada and Latin America, will act as a feeder tour for the Web.com Tour, the second-tier circuit in America.

This growing influence of the PGA Tour will no doubt have raised plenty of eyebrows. The European Tour has enjoyed a profitable relationship with the Chinese since 2005 and co-host three highly lucrative events in that part of the world. Rumours that the PGA Tour was trying to buy out the European Tour were dismissed earlier in the season but this latest flexing of the muscles in the money-soaked Asian market underlines the US circuit's power and influence.

Then again, given the rapid rate of growth in the Far East, it will probably be the Chinese themselves who will be calling the shots on the world stage before long. "The east will take over the west in the game of golf within a generation," observed the former Open champion Greg Norman.